By PRISCILLA KADOLPH
Staff writer
For the purpose of the article the process of Congress making a law is factual, however, the subject matter is hypothetical.
Congress has been perceived to be ineffective because certain laws are not passed and the citizens of Americans do not feel as though they are being represented.
Passing a bill or creating a law is not as easy as it seems. It is a rather complicated process that requires a lot of effort, research, communication and time from the Senate and the House of Representatives.
This begs the question; how does a bill become a law?
It begins with an idea. This idea can be presented to a senator or representative from a citizen (constituent), a lobbyist (a person who works for an organization that tries to influence legislators on what laws should be made), a governor, or other elected officials.
You want your senator to make the death penalty illegal. You writer your Senator an informative and influential letter and present your idea to her at a town hall meeting.
She understands your logic and agrees that the death penalty needs to be illegal. She begins to research the death penalty and begins to write a draft for a bill. Your Senator is now the primary sponsor for this bill.
The next step is for the Senator (or House Representative) to introduce the bill to the Senate and receive a bill number. [It can be introduced in the House of Representatives. After it receives a bill number it is placed in a wooden box called a “hopper.”]
Once the bill is introduced it goes to a committee. The committee that would oversee this bill to make the death penalty illegal is the Committee on the Judiciary.
The Committee on the Judiciary takes the bill and discusses, researches, debates and makes changes to the bill, if necessary, which is also known as mark-up. In the event the bill needs further review it will be sent to a sub committee.
The committee presents the bill to the entire Senate chamber and it is voted on. If the bill passes it goes to the House of Representatives. If the bill starts in the House of Representatives and passes it would go to the Senate.
Once it is passed in both chambers it is presented to the President. It can either be signed into law or vetoed (not approved) by the President.
If the bill is vetoed by the President, Congress can override the veto by 2/3 majority vote and make it become law.
But, the President can pocket veto a bill, therefore, preventing the bill becoming law. A pocket veto is when a bill does not become law because the President does not sign it and return it to Congress within a ten day period. If the president does not sign it and Congress is not in session, the bill does not become law.
The bill making the death penalty illegal is now a law. It will receive a number and is enforceable by the government.
For more information please visit: kids-clerk.house.gov/grade-school/lesson.html or usa.gov/how-laws-are-made.